Thursday, September 29, 2005

More Squid News

From the incomparable Cameron S.:

Ari, I thought you would appreciate this, and I can't figure out how to leave a comment in your blog. I sent this giant squid "violent lovemaking" link to my coworker, and this is the IM conversation that ensued, which I like to call "Squids In Living Color":

ciababy: hmm long penis
CamIgoUgo: so it can impregnate the female without ever having to get close to her
ciababy: like from miles away
ciababy: the female squid is like 'DA FUCK WAS THAT
ciababy: her girlfriend is like, WHAT?
ciababy: then she goes "DID HE JUST DO A 12 METER?"
ciababy: then they shake their head and go OHNO HE DIDNT
CamIgoUgo: mmmmm hmmm
ciababy: DAS MESS UP
ciababy: DAS MESS UP
ciababy: AW SHIT, im preggers!
ciababy: when they say that, do they cross their arms across their chest
ciababy: all 8 arms?
CamIgoUgo: no they just wave them around really fast

It should also be pointed out that "ciababy" is a tiny Filipino girl.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

From the Depths

More giant squid news (not to be confused with colossal squid). Courtesy of my ol' pal Rusty, who referred to this blog (correctly) as "faggoty." This makes perfect sense if you know him.

Chips Ahoy!

Maybe the best news post ever, courtesy of Dinosaur Comics. I thought that the phrase "scientists now believe the males had either accidentally inseminated themselves during 'violent' lovemaking sessions with females or been inseminated by other males after 'bumping' into them" would never be heard outside of my deposition following a particularly addled night at TI.

Moon Sash Productions - your #1 source for marine biological sex-and-violence news!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Crimson Tide

Another Rad Link from Rafil Bonerston-Smith, this one about deadly navy-trained attack dolphins, JUST LIKE IN THE SHORT STORY VERSION OF JOHNNY MNEMONIC!!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Beyond Black

First of all, Beyond Black is not the sequel to the novelization of Beyond Borders.  It’s a normal novel by Hilary Mantel, a British novelist famous for a searing memoir which I have not read, but which I am willing to bet is about a childhood filled with horrible abuse.  Beyond Black tells the story of Alison, who had a childhood filled with horrible abuse that emerges gradually over the course of the book.  Alison possesses psychic powers: she can see and speak with the dead, read minds, etc.  She makes her living as a medium, although she is in fact more of a large since she is hella fat.  The opening act of the book teams her with a bitter divorcee, Colette, who is tiny and thin and hard and vicious.  Colette’s business acumen and basic disregard for human kindness make her an excellent manager for Alison, who is too busy defending herself from the sieging spirits of the dead to really worry about the VAT.  Mantel does a remarkable job of making all this seem reasonable and tragic rather than thrilling and heroic – it’s not grand fantasy or horror (although many horrid moments creep through the book), it’s more like Beloved than Necroscope.
     So we have a few plots: Alison and Colette’s relationship (Colette eventually puts Al on a diet which causes Al to think something along the lines of “I am refused a piece of bread in my own house”), Alison’s relationship with her vile Spirit Guide Morris, Alison’s trajectory through the professional medium circuit, and Alison’s emerging past.  Mantel describes the other mediums with a remarkably light touch: yes, they are ethereal New-Age types named Natasha and Merlyn and so on, but they come off as carefully banal rather than wackily caricaturish.  The spirit guide Morris (It’s never 100% clear in what capacity he is acting as a guide) also comes off very finely; initially, I was inclined to like him since he seems to be an adorably lecherous Cockney, but as his relationship with Alison resolves he acquires an aura of banal menace.  By the end, when he and his mates start applying directly to Old Nick for “modifications” to their bodies he’s looking less like a lisping bootblack and more like a monster, which is after all what he is.  And Mantel’s portrait of Colette is so flawless that it’s almost pointless to describe it.
     It took me about three months, on and off, to finish the novel – not that it’s so terribly long, it just never really gripped me.  Nonetheless, you should all read it.  Perhaps those whose brains have not been dulled by the ceaseless violence of cheap vampire novels would find it more absorbing than I did.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Die Spinnen


And now,

Act One: The Hero, Kay Hoog, aboard his yacht, receives an interactive tutorial on the battle system by sparring with his beturbaned manservant (his signature weapon: an enchanted fountain pen named after something from Wagner).  Suddenly, he and Beturbaned spot a floating message in a bottle – time for GIANT OCTOPUS BOSS!  After beating the octopus and retrieving the bottle, Hoog becomes distracted by the OC and stops writing this stupid blog entry (or, as one might more tartly say, “blog entry”).

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Purple Rain

Well, loyal blog readers, I’ve fallen partially off the wagon but here’s an awesome digest of the major developments in the past few weeks!

#1 – The Skeleton Key (MAJOR SPOILERS!)

I have hella guilt and anxiety about such as my father dying of an unspecified, dramatically appropriate illness.  OK word I am now a visiting nurse!  All my clothing came from American Apparel and I am winsome!

My husband has such as the vapors and a strizoke in his brizain PS I am not the skeleton ghost of any old black voodoo ladies in case you were wondering!

I am also not any type of skeleton.

Guys I hope U are not mad but I just can’t get enough of the forbidden voodoo mystery room!
[The old lady uses voodoos to take over Kate Hudson’s body]


#2 – Housewarming Party
Basically the best part was when I had like nine different conversations about Soul Calibur and then passed out during a conversation about discrimination in the primary public school system in the US.

#3 – Lawnparties Aftermath
If you ever wondered what a “cheeser” is, you can relax because it is only an innocuous ol’ cheeseburger.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Like a Velvet Glove

I don’t know if any of you have been following Achewood recently, but over the course of only two strips it has turned into a bizarre David Lynch/Daniel Clowes-esque nightmare. So good!

Saturday, September 10, 2005


So I spent this evening watching the Weeds marathon.  First of all, the word “weeds” here is a pun because it can also refer to mourning garments worn by widows, and Mary Louise Parker plays a widow in Weeds.  Such an obscure play on words will of course attract the ideal TV audience: pasty 19 year old boys who spend their weekends LARPing at Ye Weyrewolfe’s Donjonne.
     Weeds initially follows Showtime’s preffered show formula: a ridiculous premise (see Dead Like Me), incredibly bad and lazy writing (also Dead Like Me), actors who appear to have studied at the prestigious twitchy-n-mumbly school (Huff, again Dead Like Me), and a heapin’ helpin’ of sex and profanity (Huff, many superior programs on HBO).  The first episode also features a sass-talking black woman who dispenses folksy, profanity-laden wisdom and actually bakes cornbread onscreen.
     HOWEVER, it picks up very quickly.  Pryor Walter from Angels in America shows up as an inexplicably swishy in-law, the music is pretty good, surprisingly engaging guest-stars parade through consistently and the whole thing generally evens out.  The writers also wisely eliminate a back-talking Elijah Wood look-alike and ML Parker’s son’s semi-annoying girlfriend (they replace her with a rad deaf girl).  If you are one of the apparently few people who don’t find Marie Louise Parker annoying (I think she is totally super), you will probably actually like it.  Apparently Indigo from season 7 of Buffy is on it too, but I can’t figure out who she is so her role is likely minor (she may be the deaf girl).

PS - Also, now I'm watching Barbershop which has so far been hilarious and exceptionally briskly directed. Way funnier than Weeds actually.

Friday, September 09, 2005


First of all, if anyone tells you that Beyond Borders is not an incredibly good movie, they are lying through their unspeakably mendacious teeth. Basically in it Clive Owen plays a doctor who cures famine in Africa and then southeast Asia, and then decides to go to Chechnya because everything is basically OK everywhere else. Angelina Jolie thriftily re-uses her outfits from Tomb raider and plays, with complete plausibility, an underpaid midlevel UN functionary who nonetheless wields almost limitless power. Plus, the first section features an indescribably creepy CGI starving African infant, like the Ally McBeal baby's evil Nine Inch Nails-designed twin. The CGI baby pales in comparison to the satanic homonculus who (SPOILER ALERT!!) issues from the unholy union of Jolie and Owen and plays the piano at Angelina Jolie's birthday. I give it nine thumbs up. If anyone tells you that it is offensive because it portrays the starving and suffering people of the world as faceless automatons awaiting rescue at the hands of heroic white people, you need to let them know that even privilged Westerners can suffer from a serious deficiency - OF HOLLYWOOD MAGIC! Also, Angelina Jolie gets blowed up by a landmine.

Politics as Usual

The man who cut short his vacation and usurped state authority to extend Terry Schiavo's living corpse for political advantage couldn't bring himself to do either when thousands of American lives were on the line. Classic Bush.

This is from the blog portion of Bob the Angry Flower, a very good cartoon drawn by a Canadian who recently moved to Seattle. Equally cartoonish is this exchange between Scott McClellan and a reporter sent to me by Rafil Bonerston-Smith. Most of you have probably already seen this I hope, but it's certainly good for a laugh followed shortly by the chilling feeling that we are living in a nightmarish dystopia.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

My The Cave Fanfiction

Piper Perabo frowned in the cave, although no one could see it because it was dark – and the darkness was composed of shadows, each one of which could have concealed literally anything that didn’t shoot out rays of light. She had just dropped the team’s last carboy of Borghese Fango active mud facial mask. Now they were without exfoliants. Although she was an expert rock-climber, she had never climbed the particular metaphorical cliff which she was now metaphorically climbing: a cliff of sheer terror.
Suddenly, one of the other actors fell down a real cliff into some water. “Guys!” he yelled, “I’m OK! I landed on the Asian guy!” Everyone, except for the Asian guy, was relieved.
Meanwhile, thirty years in the past, some Romanian grave robbers created a flimsy backstory.
Her hand shaking with twitches that were each composed of terror, Piper Perabo shined or shone her flashlight on a suspicious crevasse. She found the crevasse suspicious because it was emitting an unusual amount of blood and wailing, and also cries that sounded suspiciously like the noise that an unconvincing CGI/puppet monster makes when it is on the hunt – noises designed to induce terror! Also, Romanian folk legend referred to this crevasse as “I Crevassi Suspizione.”
Slowly, the light picked out the rock face, revealing that it did not at all look like papier-mâché on a sound stage. Slowly, the light slid leftwardsly, twitching in time with the terror infused beats of Piper Perabo’s heart, beats which rested over a bed of fear-shallots poached in a wine sauce of dread and dusted with ground black pepper of a different kind of dread. Suddenly, there was a movement – Picabo Street lunged out of the crevasse, her sharpened ski-poles held at port arms, ready to skewer Piper Perabo like a rosemary-rubbed lamb coulis!
“Oh, it’s just you, Piper Perabo,” Picabo Street said, sighing with relief and slumping back in her Winter Olympics souvenir ski jacket. Suddenly, a monster ate them. “NOO!” yelled the Asian guy – a yell of pure terror. “The monster seems to be targeting athletic women with amusing names!” he yelled in warning. Farther back in the cave, Washington Mystics WNBA player DeLisha Milton-Jones shivered – in terror!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


So a marketing research company just recruited my mother to do a survey by mail. They pitched it as a review of a situation comedy and sent her a tape. She’s supposed to watch this on Tuesday and respond to questions over the phone the next day.
So she got the packet today – it indeed included a tape which came with a surprising Rocky-and-Bullwinkleesque warning that it would erase itself as she watched it (it turns out that it just contained a ratchet or something that prevented rewinding, which is almost equally weird). It also came with two cheaply printed packets that contained black and white photographs of popular household consumer goods (like East German pornography – ZING!). In fact, the packets contained photographs of the SAME sets of household goods, but she was supposed to pick her favorites from one before the sitcom and one after.
The sitcom, which was copyrighted 2000, was called “Dads” and was unbelievably bad. The biggest star-power they could muster was whoever played Ross’ ex-wife on Friends, plus it leaned heavily on child actors. Like so many shows that I have seen in the past five years it reminded me of the sitcoms that characters in better sitcoms or The Simpsons watch. Also, it included commercial blocks.
As canny readers may have guessed already (and as my mom immediately realized) this whole market research exercise turned out to be about the advertisements. It turns out that the firm that’s running this, Ipsos-ASI, specializes in determining whether advertising is effective – if you google it, you get a bunch of articles on retention, whether or not viewers remember the ads that they’ve seen during, say, a colossaly banal sitcom.
My theory is that Ipsos-ASI bought “Dads” as a kind of television byproduct, that it was a pilot whose clearly retarded wings would never bear it aloft into the empyrean of other quality shows like Joey. I suppose it’s a little dishonest to try to pass off this research as being about the sitcom (it wouldn’t pass an IRB for anthropology, in my opinion, although it might fly in one of the fields where they allow deception) but it doesn’t really bother me that much. I do find the idea that there is a science of memory surrounding advertising pretty interesting. I wrote one of my generals essays on advertising as dreams, and my panel suggested that I might consider the idea that we generally forget our dreams – do we forget advertisements in the same way? Is it interesting to think of remembering advertisements as either natural or unnatural?
Anyway, I felt EXACTLY like Ralph Fiennes in The Constant Gardener during my investigation - it was like I was a GOD, even better than watching the scene with the repulsive harlot in Spider.

Finally, some clothing from the future

Check out the bold sweater/Precog hood featured first in Polo’s fall lineup (link). Plus, many of the rest of the outfits feature fur collars à la Sean Young in Bladerunner. In the future, you will need these to keep your neck and collarbone warm, because that is where they will implant the tiny device that provides internet access and plays old Joy Division songs on request. If any line of clothing has ever said “I’m just slipping out to the tissue regrowers to pick up some new eyeballs grown on artificial shark cartilage”, this has.

Monday, September 05, 2005

A Time to Cut Off Heads

Perhaps the only possible good thing to come out of hurricane Katrina will be ironclad proof that Bush’s network of cronies consists of not just reactionary hyper-conservative anti-science religious zealots, but incompetent reactionary, hyper-conservative anti-science religious zealots. The information coming out about “Brownie”’s qualifications and Chertoff’s (who I like to think of as Dr. Skull – note that his confusion of geographic area and city echoes Mothmonsterman’s speech about Bolivia in Aqua Teen hunger Force) infamous lapis lingua during one of his many press conferences are putting a human face on the odious lack of preparedness that seems to characterize this administration.
Bush and his colleagues seem to be handing out sinecures like Borgia popes, but perhaps this stunning display of ineptitude will finally wake the American public from its terror-induced stupor and the people will realize that Bush’s network cannot protect us from the real and imaginary enemies that it so often evokes. If you want to govern by fear, you should make sure that your administration can actually DEAL with the things you want everyone to be afraid of, and the aftermath of Katrina has thoroughly proved that they can’t.

See This New York Times article for instance.

Is Brokeback Mountain the product of Donnie Darko/The Four Feathers crossover fanfiction?


The Constant Gardener


  • Ralph Fiennes’s name can be pronounced at it is spelled to project an impression of willful ignorance.

  • According to Parade magazine, Rachel Weisz’s last name is pronounced “vice”, making the film two-for-two on delightful name pronunciations for its stars.


  • Not enough gardening scenes.

I wish I owned, or at least was lead photographer for, an ironic t-shirt company

Seriously, I do.  Apparently all you do all day is take pictures of vaguely greasy indie-rock guys who look like they design restaurant menus for a living and then girls who at first glance look like they’re just very attractive fun indie girls, like the kind who might at ANY MINUTE start hanging out with you and letting you touch their boobies, but then if you actually look at them closely they are obviously models and as such are in LA getting spray-on tans and screaming at their publicists on their razr phones. for instance, or American Apparel (Carolyn?  Can you get me this job??).

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Seasoned Finale

I was a little puzzled by the hour long season finale of Entourage, which featured Vince getting elected Tribune of the Plebians and Drama being trepanned without anesthesia.  It certainly kept us guessing, but I’m not sure if it gave the fans the trademark Hollywood insider sass that they expect.  Turtle looked fabulous as always.

The "Great" Library

Everyone talks constantly about how great the library at Alexandria was, and how it was such a shame that it was destroyed in 48 BC.  If you tune to Fox News, 99% of the time this is what they are discussing.  But did you know that the so-called “Great Library” didn’t even have a periodicals room?  And that it only had SIX BOOKS (and that’s counting the episode directory for season three of Angel, which is only four pages)?  I’m not saying it’s a good thing that it burned down, but I am saying that in the shower today I got so mad thinking about the campaign to whitewash its reputation that I fell down and broke my nose again.  THANKS, Library at Alexandria.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Pyrat Rum

Pyrat Rum is this $26 rum made by the Patron company, who brought us all the magic of not throwing up right away.  It comes in a hella fancy bottle that looks like maybe a pirate who wore glasses and was in charge of the maps and handing the captain things would have designed it.  Knotted about its neck is a little saffron scarf and a medallion bearing the smiling image of the bodhisattva Hotai, because Buddhists drink HELLA rum at their get-togethers.  Unfortunately it doesn’t really taste like anything – it’s smooth yet forgettable, kind of like drinking a J. Crew cotton sweater.  I would go with the rad Captain Morgan’s Private Stock, which has all kinds of sugar and is just generally a lot more fun and relaxed.

Cory Doctorow's new book: as good as Ragtime?

First of all, Cory Doctorow is not related to E.L. Doctorow, or even El Doctorow, the enormous, savage genius locus of the Laboratoria de Idiomas (and El Doctorow is notoriously sexually prolific). Anyway, Cory Doctorow is one of these semi-annoying new internet & technology intellectuals like Neal Stephenson, and I suppose that he was one of the generals in the blog revolution, if the rise of the blog can be termed a revolution instead of, say, a pathetic sideshow.
Anyway, Cory Doctorow’s new book is called Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town and it has no serious horrible flaws. Doctorow ends it with a twist that dramatically recasts the whole book yet is still kind of lame and unsatisfying, but it’s a magic realist fantasy so you shouldn’t read it for the plot anyway. He also includes many long, very earnest sections about public WiFi nets – his protagonist and a buddy are pitching public WiFi access to their town, and by the end of the novel we have seen them pitch it a few too many times and wish that Doctorow would have focused on the interesting family drama at the center of the plot. The protagonist, Alan, belongs to a strange family: his mother is a washing machine and his father is a mountain (one of his brothers takes after his dad and is an island). Doctorow treats this with enough mystery and delicacy that it works (if he had tried to explain exactly how things work it would have been a train wreck). Doctorow intimates that everyone comes from a weird family and is an outcast in his or her own way, joining a long and distinguished line of writers who probably include John Irving.
Doctorow has made the book available for free as a PDF, which seems like a rad thing to do. You can find it and all his other books at . Come for the free books, stay for the vitriol!

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